Cultivating Conversations - Agriculture and Football 

Elizabeth Wood

Down. Set. Hike!

There are many reasons to love fall, but in South Carolina I think many agree that the highlight of the season is college football. Is there anything better than cheering on your team on a crisp fall afternoon? No matter what colors you wear on Saturdays, we can all join together to show our appreciation for the real men and women behind the sport: farmers. As you toast friends at tailgates and high five buddies after touchdowns, it is worth pausing to remind those around you of the many ways agriculture makes football possible.   

Without farmers, we would not have… 

FOOTBALLS - Today’s footballs are made of leather from cow hides and one can make twenty footballs. Around 11,520 footballs are used during regular season games… that’s 576 cow hides! Footballs are sometimes called pig skins because they used to be made from pig bladders.  

FIELDS - Turf grass or synthetic ag products provide the perfect field for the sport. Stadiums that have grass have knowledgeable staff who grow and care for the turf year-round, so it is perfect on game day.  

TICKETS - Game tickets are printed on paper from trees and sometimes are also made from cornstarch. The tickets could be printed with soy ink derived from soybeans. What a great use of ag products! 

TAILGATE FOOD - From chicken, pork and beef to peanuts, popcorn and chips, we would not have any of our favorite dishes to enjoy before the big game without farmers. After eating lots of great food you need something to wash it down with. Your favorite soda is sweetened with corn syrup and beer is brewed using hops, barley, and wheat. Another touchdown for agriculture! 

UNIFORMS - The colorful jerseys your team’s players wear are made with cotton grown in the United States. And, do not forget there is cotton in the t-shirt and jeans you might wear to the game. 

TAPE AND BANDAGES - We hope football players don’t ever need tape or bandages, but when they do, they stay put thanks to corn dextrin and cattle gelatin that create the adhesives and binding agents.  

While we each hope our team takes home the big trophy, I think it is safe to say farmers are the real National Champions!  

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